“I was low in the grass, putting my radio into operation, when I looked up and saw one of the C-130s carrying one of our large drops fly over and the large bundle that it carries dropped out of the rear. I saw the enemy AA transition from the landing zone to the large bundle covered in blue chem-lights
All the time I was on the ground, I kept hearing little sounds I had never heard before in the grass above my head. They sounded like cracks of a whip. I then realized that those were bullets passing over my head and that someone was shooting at me! I was just finishing up with my radio and was preparing to move when I caught something out of the corner of my eye. I saw a small, dark skinned man rushing at me from about 30 feet away. He was wearing brown pants and a white shirt and he was carrying a machete. I picked up my CAR-15 and shot him with a quick burst of fire.
Not long after we had established a blocking position, we saw a white Toyota Corolla come speeding down the road. It appeared to be trying to bypass the obstacles placed in the road. We fired a few well placed tracers over it in an attempt to get it to stop. The warnings were not heeded, and the platoon opened up with a hail of fire that lasted several seconds. A fire team was sent to clear the car, all occupants were dead.
Two dead men who seemed to be in their twenties, a young woman, who we found was 18 years old, and a boy who seemed to be between 4 and 6 years old. The guilt overcame us. Is it possible we just killed an innocent family? Upon further inspection, we found RPG-2 warheads in the trunk paired with launchers, and our guilt suddenly disappeared.”
– Captain Jonathan E. Tugman, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger regiment, Operation Just Cause, December 20th 1989.
As we always say here at Battles and Beers (TM) Every soldier has a story, and every story deserves to be told.